Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 29

By Émile Zola

Chapter 29

  • Thérèse experiences a shift in her character. (More observing-humans "science" stuff here.) Instead of trying to rebel against the memory of Camille, she becomes strangely pious. 
  • Not only does she praise her dead husband in front of Laurent, but she also starts begging Mme Raquin for forgiveness. 
  • Every day, Thérèse prays for redemption. She even deludes herself into believing that Mme Raquin has forgiven her.  
  • Laurent is greatly disturbed by this change in Thérèse, and worries that her repentance will lead her to reveal everything to the police. 
  • Because he's such a sweet guy. Basically the only things he cares about now are not getting caught and not getting caught. 
  • Thérèse now tortures Laurent every evening by telling him how much she loved Camille, and their rows end with Laurent beating her.  
  • But Thérèse derives a strange sense of pleasure from being beaten, thinking that it provides a cure for the misery of her life. She deserves punishment, and she is punishment. (Scary thinking, for sure.)  
  • Laurent also finds relief in striking Thérèse, and the couple become more and more violent toward each other. 
  • Where could this story possibly go next?